High School Crew Team Triumphs at State Championships

By Trevor Hass, Sports Editor/Reporter

When they started the season a few months ago, they knew this goal was possible. The early-morning wake-ups – sometimes as early as 4:30 – were exhausting, but there was always that light at the end of the tunnel.

The Dragons truly believed that if they did everything in their power to capture a state championship, that’s exactly what they’d be able to do. They had the experience, the talent, the depth and the coaching, and it was up to them to make it happen. In the end, they did just that, clinching both a boys and girls team state championship Sunday in Lowell. Duxbury took home 10 medals and seven titles, proving itself against the state’s other top teams on the biggest stage.

“The racing today was awesome,” boys captain Ethan Donnelly said. “Bringing the championship trophy home was incredible for the entire team, as everyone’s hard work was on full display as we dominated the field for the entire regatta.”

This marked the boys’ first championship ever, and the girls’ first since 2015. The girls first varsity 4, second varsity 4, third varsity 4, fourth varsity 4 and first novice 8 all captured first place, while the boys third varsity 4 and novice 4 took home titles as well. The boys first varsity 4 earned third, second varsity 4 placed second and fourth varsity four came in second. The inter-squad competition all season along paid dividends, as the Dragons became more prepared to outlast other teams by battling – in a friendly way, of course – among themselves.

“The team has been working immensely hard since March to prepare for the state championships,” girls captain Kate Reynolds said. “I honestly could not have asked for a better race or team to wrap up my 10-season journey with Dux crew.” Boys varsity coach Oli Rosenbladt said this is one of his favorite teams in 20 years of coaching high school crew. Not many people see the behind-the-scenes work that makes all this possible, but Rosenbladt was extremely impressed with every athlete’s dedication throughout the season.

He also praised them for buying into the team concept. It can be easy to get caught up in individual excellence when the talent level is so high, be he was proud of his rowers for never letting the possible personal glory get in the way of the growth of the team. “The kids come off the water knowing how hard the whole team has worked that day,” Rosenbladt said, “and its huge to get to race day with that camaraderie and self-belief in your back pocket.”

This ended up as a near-perfect day for Duxbury, but it wasn’t all rosy at first. The weather and the organization of the event made life tricky for everyone to start, but the Dragons acclimated without any difficulty and flaunted their poise once again. They believe rowing on Duxbury Bay, which tends to provide some serious wind, helped prepare them for this moment. It’s a moment they had dreamed of for years, and now it’s theirs to cherish forever.

“They all reacted to the difficult conditions with confidence, and I couldn’t be more proud of how they handled the pressure,” girls varsity coach Betsy Davenport said.

**Girls quotes below.**
Kate Reynolds: “After some tough morning races, all crews ended up exponentially improving their performance, beating our top competitor, Cambridge Rindge-Latin. The girls first 4 had a really strong sprint that allowed us to pull ahead and achieve the victory.”

Molly Roche: “Today was a great day of racing. Winning the state championship was the best way to go out as a senior. I’m so thankful to have been a part of such an amazing program.”

Bridget Curran: “This sport requires an extreme amount of teamwork, and when we were pulling ahead of the other crews in our sprint, I could really feel a connection between us.”

Caitlin Stehn: “It was a long, but rewarding, day. It was great to see our team come together and end the season off really well. After coming in second in the time trial to CRLS, it really motivated us in the final race to pull through and get us that win.”

Tara Curran: “Today’s race was really the best way we could end our season. We really worked hard this spring, waking up at 4:30 for practice some mornings. After 10 seasons of crew, I’m proud to be a part of this team and I can’t wait to see what they do in the future.”

Coach Betsy Davenport: “The senior girls on our team showed incredible leadership Sunday. There was a senior in every varsity boat that won their event and everyone on the team wanted their teammates to finish with a win. The motto for the day was “last one, best one.”
**End of girls quotes**

**Boys quotes below.**
Ethan Donnelly: “Everyone stepped up when they needed to, and we had some fantastic results today, which were faster than we’ve seen in years. It’s amazing to end the season on such a high note, with everyone at their peak performance because of their hard work throughout the season.”

Chris Beckerman: “Today was an amazing day for Duxbury rowing. It’s clear everyone left it all on the water, and we were rewarded with the team state title. The team was definitely able to take advantage of the strong headwind and rough water during the race because we practice in similar conditions on the Bay. Personally, I’m very excited with our team’s achievements, and it was a great way to end the year for the entire team, and especially the seniors.”

Coxswain Sophie McArdle: “I am incredibly proud to have raced with everyone on Sunday, especially my boat. They hold a special place in my heart. Crew is a very team-oriented sport. Knowing that everyone worked as hard as they could is a great end to the season.”

Colin Braga: “It was a great ending to a great season with lots of in-house competition. I loved the coaching staff and all of the parents who guided us along the way. Crew is the sport where if one person isn’t going as hard as the others everyone feels it. I appreciate everything I learned and experienced during crew.”

Michael O’Sullivan: “Winning a state championship in my one and only year of rowing was an incredible experience. The amount of growth over the past year that everyone made has been tremendous. I wish I had started earlier, but this season was an absolute blast and I wish everyone the best for next year.”

Ben Sullivan: “This season with this team has shown me both how much we have grown as a team in the three seasons I have been rowing, and has also made me realize how important it is to have a strong team surrounding you if you want to grow as an athlete. You can train as much as you want on your own, but being surrounded by such an excellent group of boys really has made it hard to do anything other than putting in 100 percent effort each day at practice. You can think you’re trying as hard as you can, but the only ones who really know how hard you’re trying are the ones who are there rowing with you and will push you to do better and better until you are the best athlete you can possibly be.”

Coach Oli Rosenbladt: “This has to be one of my favorite teams I have ever coached in my 20 years of coaching HS crew.These kids were wide-eyed and from day one. They just went with all of the training plans that coach Chuck Hewitt and I laid out. Not many people get to see how we work, but that’s not really a burden to our kids. When we are out there at 6 a.m. on a Thursday morning in spring, racing the entire fleet of boys and girls boats along Duxbury Beach between High Pines and the Powder Point Bridge, with everyone working hard no matter who is looking.”

Boys 4x – 4th place
Aaron Wang, Benjamin Sullivan, Henry Figler, William Rubin
Girls 4x – 4th place
Audrey Mitchell, Kelly Barr, Elizabeth Weldon, Molly Duvall
Boys Novice 8+ – 9th place
Jaden Chee, Peter McGill, Connor MacKinnon, Jeffrey Ng, Kevin Sullivan, Caleb Sullivan, Chris Hawk, Connor Villarin, Chase Estabrooks
Girls 1st Novice 8+ – 1st place
Caroline Smith, Jordan Brooks, Kyleigh Russo, Charlotte Roest, Aveline Patrolia, Katie Winter, Lauren Levasseur, Samantha Lovett, Serena Jones
Boys Novice 4+ – 1st place
David Tufankjian, Griffin Siciliano, Tyler Williamson, Eric Brill, Gray Kirk-Elliot
Boys 4th Varsity 4+ – 2nd place
Taidhg Driscoll, Heath Maccallum, Paul O'Neil, Noah Schulman, Phil Fassnacht
Girls 4th Varsity 4+ – 1st place
Emma Collins, Sarah Glinski, Emma Longsjo, Katherine Auth, Rachael Oliver
Boys 3rd Varsity 4+ – 1st place
John O’Malley, Declan Driscoll, Michael O'Sullivan, Colin Braga, Tom White
Girls 3rd Varsity 4+ – 1st place
Grace Wargo, Ellen Winter, Olivia Szachta, Emma Szachta, Deirdre Sullivan
Boys 2nd Varsity 4+ – 2nd place
Nicholas Rubin, Brendan Sarles, Walter Stanwood, Cammack Shepler, Sean Carlisle
Girls 2nd Varsity 4+ – 1st place
Fiona Shortt, Tara Curran, Carlin Hanley, Olivia Evans, Amanda Kenney
Boys 1st Varsity 4+ – 3rd place
Sophie McArdle, Christopher Beckerman, Charles Rubin, Jonathan Campbell, Ethan Donnelly

Girls 1st Varsity 4+ – 1st place
Kate Reynolds, Caitlin Stehn, Molly Roche, Kate McNulty, Bridget Curran
Boys Fours Overall Team Championship (first ever)
Girls Fours Overall Team Championship (first since 2015)